Filling the gap in Muslim law practice

04 December 2018 | Education
Printer Friendly, PDF & Email

The course participants with Dr Maliki (first row 3rd from right), Assoc Prof Neo (first row 3rd from left) and their lecturers at the closing ceremony

NUS Law has conducted its first Muslim Law Practice Course (MLPC) for legal practitioners in Singapore, the first-ever such course in Singapore which hopes to fill the gap in systemic legal training in Muslim law practice. Initiated by the Syariah Court of Singapore in response to feedback from practitioners on the need for more familiarity with key concepts and issues related to the practice of Muslim family law in Singapore, the course is a collaboration between NUS Law, the Syariah Court and the MUIS Academy, with support from the Ministry of Culture, Community, and Youth.

NUS Law course convenors Associate Professor Arif Jamal and Associate Professor Jaclyn Neo commended the Syariah Court’s vision in initiating the programme. “Syariah discourses have a long and rich history that has expressed itself in multiple interpretations. This diversity is a source of strength and offers great potential in addressing contemporary issues. The MLPC course is designed to provide an overview of Islamic law, explore the practice within the Singapore context and take a deeper look at the dissolution of marriages in Islam,” said Assoc Prof Jamal.

Assoc Prof Neo added that the collaboration is an expression of NUS Law’s commitment to enhance the understanding of Muslim law principles, as well as practice issues in Singapore.

A total of 54 participants attended the first run of the course, which is accredited by the Singapore Institute of Legal Education and divided into three modules. The first module looks at the historical background of Islamic law, its sources and its development in Southeast Asia and Singapore. The second module focuses on the constitutional framework in Singapore that determines the jurisdiction and powers of the Syariah Court, and examines divorce cases in the Syariah Court. The final module provides an in-depth analysis of the various modes of dissolution of marriages in Islam.

Syariah discourses have a long and rich history that has expressed itself in multiple interpretations. This diversity is a source of strength and offers great potential in addressing contemporary issues. The MLPC course is designed to provide an overview of Islamic law, explore the practice within the Singapore context and take a deeper look at the dissolution of marriages in Islam.

A closing ceremony for the course was held on 1 December, graced by Guest-of-Honour Dr Mohamad Maliki Bin Osman, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Foreign Affairs who presented certificates to the participants who had completed all three modules.

“While there are core tenets and foundational teachings in Islam that do not change, there is also a diversity of views that reflect the richness of the Islamic legal tradition. I hope that course participants can appreciate both the classical and contemporary understanding of Muslim family law, and the ethical principles and objectives underlying Islamic legal thinking,” Dr Maliki said in his speech at the event. 

Ms Cammie Loy, a course participant and senior legal associate from Apex Law LLP said that Singapore’s multiracial society means familiarity with Syariah law is crucial in order to competently advise clients from all walks of life. “This course has been very informative in providing us solicitors with a holistic background, allowing us to better understand the rationale behind the laws which differ from the civil court ones,” she elaborated.

The course is taught by lecturers from NUS Law, experts from MUIS, and practising lawyers from the Muslim Law Practice Committee of the Law Society of Singapore. Legal practitioners from various organisations such as Legal Aid Bureau, Ministry of Law, Family Justice Courts, Syariah Court and private law firms participated in the inaugural run.

See press release.